Friday May 19, 2012 — Market Day…from gloomy to glorious

It’s Friday, and a week has passed since we arrived. Market Day in Eygalieres is again upon us. The last one for this trip.

We awoke early to grey skies and the rumbling of thunder in the distance. The local weather pundits had told us that when the Mistral blows through, as it has over the past week, it is always followed by three-four days of rain. Other weather pundits had said that the post-Mistral weather was already changing, and the much-needed rain would be brief, if at all.

For the moment, the first group looked to be correct as grey clouds scudded overhead and showers came and went. At around 10, we decided to head into the village market, as we only needed a few things – a roasting chicken, some aged Comté (now our favorite cheese), ham, and some herbs for the chicken. The light showers shouldn’t interfere, and we could get a start on the day. We drove in to find the market in progress, albeit with a sparse crowd, made our purchases, and headed back to the mas to put everything in the fridge. Then we headed to the Intermarché in St. Remy for the bulk of our needs. Before leaving, David made a lunch reservation at Bistro Decouverte, one of our favorite hangouts.

The Intermarché was jammed, because the previous day had been one of 189 holidays here in France, and the weekend would be upon us the next day. I  found some socks in the clothing section (the Intermarché is like a U.S. supermarket with food, produce, clothing, train locomotives, the works) while David tended to our other needs – zesty Badoit mineral water, Sanguinello blood orange juice, fantastic Amora mustard to take home, and a few other items. Then it was off to our lunch at Decouverte.

We were seated at a table on the terrace, overlooking the tree-lined Boulevard Victor Hugo. While it was still chilly and gloomy, the rains had stopped, and the outdoor heaters kept us all toasty. We started off with a kir and ordered a bottle of Badoit as well. The menu looked great, as always, with many excellent choices. We both opted for fish, a grilled St. Pierre (like a turbot) for me, and fresh Dorade (sea Bream) for David. We decided that a bottle of Terres Blanches white would be good with both, so ordered it up.

In short order, the sun peeked through the clouds and the day got warmer, to the point that the restaurant started serving the overflow crowd on the sidewalk tables. However, after about 45 minutes, the clouds scooted back, and showers sent the outside diners under cover. They didn’t last long, and soon the sun was out and the sky was clear and blue.

We resisted the great desserts that Decouverte puts out and went with two café noir instead, finishing up our leisurely meal at about 2:30.

Leaving lunch, we strolled up the street to Joel Durand, who makes some of France’s best chocolates. I ordered a gift box for the staff at the dialysis center who take such good care of me, and will take it in to dialysis tomorrow. Even though I have two more sessions – on Tuesday and Thursday –  the head nurse, Otilia, and a few others will only be in on Saturday, so I want to make sure they share in the bounty.

The weather being nice, we decided to stroll around St. Remy. It is still one of the most delightful towns in the area, even though it becomes more crowded with tourists each year (we, of course, do not count as tourists because we each know three words of French.).  We window-shopped at the fabric store (Souleiado) and were tempted by the pottery in Terre de Provence. The color this year is a vivid lime green, which would look great in our house, except we already have every nook and cranny filled with stuff and don’t need more. Our favorite pastry shop had some “chocolate bombes” left. They are actually called le Tigre, but I dubbed them “bombes” when Darren was here and fell in love with them. They are basically chocolate pastry filled with a large dab of chocolate — you get the idea.

They have a fantastic produce shop in St. Remy, just opposite the Cathedral. It was not yet open, but a peek in the window convinced us to wait a bit and go back. We grabbed a table at a nearby café and ordered two kir to while away the time. In short order, we were back at the store and started perusing. This place has to have the best produce on earth! While we could have bought a lot of stuff, common sense told us we would never be able to eat it all before we leave in a week, so we limited ourselves to essentials and things we couldn’t resist…like beets, red scallions, onion, bibb lettuce, roquette (a peppery arugula), cucumber, “ugly” tomato, and avocados. I decided that we had spent enough time without pasta, so also picked up some artisan made fettucine. They were out of San Marzano tomatoes, but we know another source, so it will be okay. Adding all of this produce to the things we bought at the farm stand on the road to Salon yesterday (cherries, asparagus, strawberries) gives us a ton of good stuff to eat in the next few days.

We trundled our food and chocolates back to the car and high-tailed it back to the mas to put it all in the fridge, which is now close to bursting.

It was now well after five…time for Cafe du Centre. The tables were crowded, but we found an empty one and sat down for our usual afternoon session. David picked up a baguette and pastry, plus basil and San Marzanos, making us set for pasta night.

Then it was back to the mas where I put together a salad – fresh greens, tomato, cucumber, David’s croutons, avocado, hard-boiled egg, sausage with Roquefort, and Comté. Drizzle with my vinaigrette, and – voila – the perfect evening meal. Tomorrow I will do the Provencal roast chicken with potatoes and fresh asparagus.

Another episode of Murder She Wrote and we were off to bed.



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